This IWSG I have a treat for you. True to my intent to read more bloggers' books and to review same, I've invited the wonderful Damyanti Biswas to hang out on my blog today.
Many of you have seen Damyanti's book shoot up the Amazon best-seller charts and have cheered her on. But in this post, Damyanti shares the flip side of her book's success.
As a writer it is hard for me to admit I'm insecure, and yet, that's precisely what the Insecure Writers Support Group, and this post, is about. My insecurities vary from day to day, but in the last year, most of them have centred around my debut crime novel, You Beneath Your Skin.
It is doing well in its home country, and has had excellent reviews outside India as well. You might think I'd have very little to be insecure about, but you'd be wrong. I've pledged all my proceeds from You Beneath Your Skin to two non-profits, Stop Acid Attacks and Project WHY. Both are excellent organisations, and deserve all our support.
Books don't pay a lot, as anyone in the publishing world will tell you. I knew this going in, so I'm not sure why I made it public knowledge that I intended to donate all my proceeds. No matter how many copies sell, unless they sell in the millions, it would hardly make a tangible financial difference to these non-profits. We're hoping to sell other rights, but that's a long shot So, long story short, I'm terrified I won't be able to help the two causes as much as I'd like to.
Damyanti wth acid-attack survivors.
So far, I've had a few instances of readers donating to the causes. In one instance, it was as much as nearly 2000 USD, in several others about 100 USD each. That's was heartening, because clearly, these are readers who were moved by Anjali and Sujni and Sakhi's story in You Beneath Your Skin. Even if I've been able to reach one reader, surely that's worth it?
My silly ego says no. It is still ashamed of not being able to make a huge difference. So, over the months, this is what I've been telling myself about my publishing journey, and I'm hoping that some of what I've learned will resonate with you on yours:
1. Do not compare--your writing journey is your own. Everyone has theirs. In the way of comparison lies misery.
2. Every publisher has more than one book on their plate. Your book's best advocate is you.
3. If you're self-publishing, learn the ropes before you hope for a bestseller.
4. In fact, a bestseller is an amalgamation of a lot of factors--and not all are always within your control.
5. Decide early why you are in this writing business. All goals are valid, but your approach will vary based on your goal.
6. Be nice to people. Do not expect all relationships to be transactional. Focus on giving, and let others decide whether they want to reciprocate.
7. Ask for reviews, but be courteous and professional about it.
8. Do not whine or rant, unless it is a super-exceptional occasion. The writing and publishing journey is not for sissies.
9. Write the best book you can. There's no replacement for that.
10. Love yourself. Your writing success should not come at the cost of your health.
At various times, one or the other of these has helped me stay calm amid the storm that threatened to take over in the past few months. Let us hope that You beneath Your Skin will help Stop Acid Attacks and Project WHY in some substantial way.
I have made peace with the fact that the book may or may not succeed in helping the non-profits, but I have to go on regardless. Writing, and trying to make a tiny bit of difference is what my journey is about.
Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore, and supports Delhi's underprivileged women and children, volunteering with organisations who work for this cause. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. She was recently awarded The Fay Khoo Award in Penang, Malaysia. You can find her on her blog and twitter.
Her debut crime novel You Beneath Your Skin is an Amazon bestseller, all author proceeds of which will support the education and empowerment of women at Project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks.
PLEASE HELP BY TWEETING!
Help #StopAcidAttacks now! Read Damyanti Biswas’ guest post for the #IWSG https://dencovey.blogspot.com/2020/01/february-iwsg-damyanti-biswas-gets.html
#IWSG guest post Damyanti Biswas #ProjectWHY https://dencovey.blogspot.com/2020/01/february-iwsg-damyanti-biswas-gets.html
Alex's awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!
Be sure to visit them if you can and don't forget to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!
Thanks for visiting my blog today.
If you haven't already bought Damyanti's book and/or left a review, let's do it now!